By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard

FT Principle 10 graphic


WFTO-Europe supports Earth Day 2017 on the 22nd of April. This year, the campaign focuses on “Environmental & Climate Literacy” focusing on education of climate change. This relates to our work on educating on responsible production and consumption.

WFTO-Europe’s network works around the 10 Fair Trade Principles of which number 10 stands “Respect for the Environment”. This means that all of our members that produce Fair Trade products live up to strict requirements to protect the environment in their production. Examples are maximizing the use of raw materials from sustainably managed sources and buying locally, reducing energy consumption, minimize greenhouse gasses emissions and waste as well as using organic or low pesticide use productions methods.

Our members that buy and import Fair Trade products must prioritize sustainably managed sources and achieve the least overall impact on the environment possible. All members must use recycled or biodegradable materials and sea dispatching to the extent possible.

Herewith, we can ensure that products with our labels are environmentally friendly. Consumers who choose WFTO guaranteed products hereby help protect the environment. In our network, we see it as our duty to promote our members’ products among consumers to enhance a sustainable consumption that protects people and the planet. In this way, we see ourselves as Agents for Change by showing consumers how they are Agents for Change when choosing Fair Trade products.

Through the Fair Trade Principles, we work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Our Principle number 10 is directly linked to Goals number 12 and 13 on sustainable consumption and production as well as climate change. When supporting Fair Trade, you help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals!

Everyone can be an Agent for Change. Together, we can all create the change we need to protect people and the planet.

Find out much more about how to become an Agent for Change by following our Agent for Change Campaign which we launch in connection to the World Fair Trade Day on the 13th of May 2017. See the event and campaign page here.


In this Issue:

WFTO-Europe next Annual General Meeting – 21st of June online

Fair Trade and migration: Where is the link?

Fashion Revolution Week 2017: Commemorating the Victims of the Rana Plaza Tragedy

World Fair Trade Day 2017: Join our Agents for Change Campaign

Update on WFTO-Europe membership and GS status

News from the Region

News from the Board

Member in the Spotlight

And more!




27th April:

Re-inventing European NGO networks, Brussels, Belgium

10th May:

European Parliament Conference ‘Promoting sustainable value chains by linking SMEs to Fair Trade producers in the Global South’, Brussels, Belgium

12th May:
WFTO-Europe’s celebration of World Fair Trade Day, Brussels, Belgium

13th May:
World Fair Trade Day, Worldwide

8th – 9th June:
STEM Gender Equality Congress (SGEC), Berlin, Germany

9th – 11th June:
European Solidarity Economy Congress, Athens, Greece

7th – 8th June:

European Development Days, Brussels, Belgium

14th-16th September:

Fair Trade Towns International Conference

9th-13th November :

WFTO Biennial Conference, New Delhi, India


Let us know about your events!


European FairTrade Shuttle!


WFTO Europe @ home


WFTO-Europe next Annual General Meeting – 21st of June online



Dear European members,

As previously communicated to you by email, this is a crucial year for the future governance of WFTO-Europe, since we are going to recruit 4 new board members by the end of the year.


Moreover, our General Meeting will be double this year and split into due key moments:

  • 21st of June 2017 (online meeting from 3 to 5 pm; Brussels time). Due to our legal requirements to approve some financial documents (Accounts 2016/Budget 2018,…) in the first 6 months of the year, we are organising for the first time ever an online AGM in June dedicated mainly to the approval of these documents. We will do it via “gotomeeting” platform. You will only need to ensure to have a good connection at that time and to follow our “gotomeeting” instructions to attend the meeting. As you are aware your participation is fundamental to ensure the quorum and consequently the validity of the AGM. Therefore please pencil this date on your diary and free this time to meet us virtually.
  • 13th of November 2017 (Physical meeting, India). During the WFTO Global Conference in Delhi we will have a physical meeting to discuss the implementation of the action plan as well as to elect the 4 new Board of Directors

The main aim of having this double meeting is to enable us to comply with our legal requirements while keeping the meeting in Delhi as the main physical meeting. This last one will be focused on the presentation of the candidates and the final approval of the new Directors, in order to guarantee the secret ballot on the voting procedures as well as to give members more time to think about their eventual candidatures.

As you may be aware, this year 3 out of 7 Board members will end their mandate and 1 will be replaced following his decision to step down. 4 new Directors of the Board will be then elected. Here below a recap of our Board members.


Board of Directors Standing for election
Giorgio Dal Fiume (President) End of his 2nd and last mandate
Sophie Tack End of her 2nd and last mandate
Emilie Durochat Still in the Board of Directors
Bertil Högberg Resignation
Marijke Visser End of her 2nd and last mandate
Gabriella D’Amico Still in the Board of Directors
Tadeusz Makulski (Secretary and Treasurer ad interim) Still in the Board of Directors


Please find here the official invitation and rules to candidate yourself as Board members. Should you want to have more information about the role of the Directors, please do not hesitate to contact Francesca Giubilo at, or Giorgio Dal Fiume (

Looking forward to hearing from you,

WFTO-Europe staff


Fair Trade & Migration: Where is the link?


This year, WFTO-Europe introduced an Annual Topic for the first time ever. The topic of 2017 was chosen to be “Fair Trade & Migration”. In connection to this, WFTO-Europe conducted a study on WFTO-Europe members’ perception of the topic to assess whether a link exists between these two issues. 20 organizations from the network participated.

Overall, the study showed a common belief that Fair Trade and migration are connected. When asked if Fair Trade has something to deal with migration, 70% of the participants agreed, 30 % partially agreed, and no one disagreed. Participants explained this link with the better economic and social conditions and opportunities in the South provided by Fair Trade, particularly in the rural areas, which discourages migration to the North as well as to the cities in the South. All participants also agreed at certain levels that Fair Trade can prevent economic migration, and it was found that the majority would support WFTO activities on the issue.

Nonetheless, although most participants linked the topic to prevention of migration through the creation of economic opportunities, the study also revealed that other migration-related issues can be solved through Fair Trade, specifically in those cases where people must flee from war. The study shed lights on the work WFTO members currently have revolved around refugees. Some members already work with migrant people and have implemented activities targeting migrants. For example, members hire migrants, target migrant countries, make donations to refugee camps and support organizations or campaigns focusing on the area.

A concrete example is the ARGE Weltläden who launched a 3-year campaign in 2016, focusing on raising awareness on migration issues and the role of Fair Trade. Moreover, EZA Fairer Handel GmbH got into a partnership with a Fair Trade partner from Thailand, Green Net, who donated rice which EZA distributed to refugees in Austria through World Shops. EZA also supported the Drop Earrings Not Bombs project, which initiates a handmade earring production hiring Syrian refugees. EZA took part of the production of the Austrian line and sold their earrings in their World Shops.

These cases show that Fair Trade indeed is linked to the issue of migration. Although Fair Trade ultimate aim is not to solve migration, Fair trade practices, focused on helping those living in the South but also supporting the marginalized people in the North, have strong consequences on migration.

In these critical times, our network’s help is needed more than ever. This emphasizes on the relevance and need for involvement on our Annual Topic, which WFTO-Europe will continue to work on within this year.


Europe in a nutshell


Fashion Revolution Week 2017: Commemorating the Victims of the Rana Plaza Tragedy

Group Photo Edited and cropped

Yesterday, the 24th of April, is the Fashion Revolution Day which marks the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster. A factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed and killed 1,138 people due to unsafe production facilities. The factory hosted clothing productions of popular fast fashion brands, and its collapse is a main reference to criticism of the fashion industry.

The fashion industry is one of the most criticized for executing unethical business practices being the second most polluting industry worldwide and with heavy human rights violations in the production stage such as those committed at the tragedy at Rana Plaza. Implementing a sustainable textile supply chain – transparent and traceable, ensuring protection of the people and the planet – remains a challenge due to multiple factors. Among others, our choices to go for fast fashion brands.

As stated in the Fashion Revolution report “Fashion Revolution Fanzine #001 Money Fashion Power”:

“Factories around the world are being pushed to deliver ever-larger quantities of clothing faster and cheaper. As a result, factories routinely make employees work extra hours, often without overtime pay or other benefits in return. The pressure on factories to deliver is so intense that workers are often subjected to intimidation, harassment, coercion, pain and injury and are even restricted from taking short breaks to the toilet. The people who make our clothes cannot be paid fairly through this process. This is the grim reality it takes to deliver our desire for ‘choice’ when we’re out shopping.”

Fashion Revolution is at the forefront of pushing the industry for a switch that eliminates these critical issues. After the disaster in 2013, a revolution was formed when this global movement was founded through a civil society organization based in the UK. The organization advocates on the topic with a yearly Fashion Revolution Week, starting on the Rana Plaza Tragedy anniversary day, as a part of their global “Who Made My Clothes” Campaign. This week highlights the topic of traceability and transparency in the textile supply chain with the involvement of consumers and actors from the industry. Via social media, organizations will ask companies “Who made my clothes?” whilst producers will answer “I made your clothes”.

The campaign sends out a clear message to adopt a responsible consumption and embrace more ethical business practices.

WFTO-Europe together with WFTO is supporting Fashion Revolution to promote the Fair Trade Principles that too often are violated in the textile supply chain and to bring Fair Trade Fashion forward. We encourage the entire network to do the same.

This is our time to show to the fashion industry as well as to public institutions and international bodies that immediate actions must be taken to solve these appalling abuses.

Read the campaign’s official site and join the revolution here.


WFTO around the World


WFTDay 2017: Join our “Agents for Change” CampaignBannerWFTD

World Fair Trade Day is getting close, and at WFTO-Europe, we are slowly getting ready to celebrate this special day. This year is the third year of WFTO’s Agent For Change Campaign, and once again we are asking people to support our campaign and to form a human chain to symbolize solidarity.

Up to the day and on the day itself, we will support WFTO’s social media campaign promoting World Fair Trade Day with the focus on how everyone can be an agent for change and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. WFTO-Europe will use the occasion to show how Fair Trade is linked with the Sustainable Development goals, and how consumers can be agents for change by choosing Fair Trade products as well as how our members are agents for change.

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WFTO-Europe will focus its activity around this by organizing an event where all Fair Trade actors in Belgium, member of WFTO and not will be invited to celebrate the World Fair Trade Day and to create a human chain. The event will take place in Brussels on the 12th of May, and during the event, we will create materials to share on our social media on the World Fair Trade Day.

To get more outreach, we strongly encourage participation from all of our members 1-2 weeks up to the special day. Please join our social media campaign by sharing our posts and sharing material with us. Make a post explaining why you are an agent for change or how consumers are agents for change when choosing your products. Please do share this with us so we can spread it on our social media. You can also take photos of your organization’s staff forming a human chain as well as photos with the Agents For Change sign. Please share them with us and on your own social media platforms. Remember to use the hashtags #FairTradeDay and #AgentForChange. Find materials and ideas for the message in the campaign brief from WFTO here.

Follow any updates on the event on our event page here.


9-13 November 2017: WFTO Global Biennial Conference – pencil it in your diary!


The 14th WFTO Biennial Conference will take place on the 9th-13th November 2017 in New Delhi, India. This WFTO Conference is a key moment to gather all Fair Trade actors alongside the supply chain and to shape the future of our big network.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Fair Trade, a Path to Sustainable Development”. This occasion will be used to address the topic of the 10 Fair Trade Principles in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals. Speakers include Fair Trade experts from the public and corporate sector who will provide valuable discussion points for the debate on how Fair Trade achieves sustainable development. One confirmed speaker is Nicolette Naumann, Vice-President of Messe Frankfurt/Ambiente.

This year, participants will also have the chance to join a track ‘Marketing and Quality Assurance’ at the 2017 Organic World Congress (OWC) which runs at the same time and place. Here, “Fair Trade meet organic” linking organic to Fair Trade as a way to an environmental friendly production for knowledge sharing, networking and synergy building.

This is a unique opportunity to engage with actors from the industry at a global level and expand knowledge and ideas on how to get Fair Trade at the forefront of trade and ensure sustainable development through trade. It is a chance to learn from the best and be apart of decision making within the Fair Trade movement.

NOTE!: Members that lack means to attend can apply for scholarships from WFTO. Download guidelines here and submit your application through the online form here. The deadline is the 30th of April.

Read more on the conference here.


The WFTO Guarantee System


Update on WFTO-Europe membership and GS status


Dear members,

We are proud to inform you that right now around 50 Organizations successfully passed through the WFTO Guarantee System while the others are at different steps of the process. At the regional level, WFTO-Europe is processing 4 monitoring applications while we are managing 4 new membership requests.

As agreed in the WFTO-Europe AGM in 2015, WFTO-Europe has finalised and made available to European members the list of FT unverified suppliers so as to foster collaboration and synergy amongst the members. 

News from the Region

WFTO-Europe is pleased to welcome its new members: Siyabonga and Landelijke Vereniging van Wereldwinkels (DAWS).

On the 21st of April, WFTO-Europe attended the Journée de partenaires organised by Oxfam in Brussels. This was a great and inspiring opportunity to hear the stories from 3 partners from the Mali, India and Paraguay and meet the people who constantly work on a voluntarily basis to make the change happen!



News from the Board

The last board meeting was held on the 4th of April via Skype. Please log in here if you want to access all the Board Meetings held by WFTO-Europe.  The next one is planned to take place on 28th of April, via Skype.



Member in the Spotlight: Elvang – Textiles with Integrity


logo_grey_textonlyA lot has changed since Lasse and Tina Elvang brought back Peruvian alpaca blankets from their backpacking trip to Peru in 2002. They fell in love with the beauty, softness and luxury of the alpaca textiles that  they found. But they were also overwhelmed by the poverty they experienced around them. They decided to find a unique way to unite a Scandinavian design approach with the pure elegance of the alpaca yarn that would benefit the region in Peru they had visited.

Driven by the knowledge gained from working with alpaca came the passion for creating other home textiles with carefully selected producers using the finest fibres available.

Elvang strive to create designs that stand the test of time always using the most durable yarn qualities that can withstand everyday use. The current collection includes textiles for your kitchen, table and bath while constantly creating a new look in alpaca cushions and throws as well as luxury scarves.

But perhaps what Elvang are most proud of is what have been done for the region of Peru. Elvang has created more than 200 fulltime jobs and educational programmes with their suppliers that have benefited the shepherds, home weavers, knitters and their families. All whilst sustaining an ecological balance and caring for the animals that create the very fibre they take pride in offering to you.

And that’s why Elvang Denmark says: “we create textiles with integrity”.

Tina og Lasse gående (2)

The aim is to be able to always look the customers in the eyes. Elvang´s clients are very quality conscious and they choose products where design – quality and material all come together. Positive feedback from clients, who have an Elvang product, which they bought 10 years ago and the product still  looks new, is very rewarding.

Today, Elvang operate worldwide, among others on the Scandinavian markets, Germany, France, Holland, The States, Japan and Australia and participate in various trade fairs around Europe. This season they met customers from all over the world at Ambiente in Germany and at Maison & Objet in France. To meet clients and to present new designs is always very exciting for Elvang.

Textiles is Elvang´s universe and they continually extend the product range with focus on products made of only the best possible quality.



About/From the Network:


Special Request: Chimps looking for buyers


These chimps need a home. Due to climate change experienced by producers in Sri Lanka, the production did not meet the buyer’s deadline (a zoo company). Materials from elephant dung did not dry on time for production due to torrential rains.

For interested buyers, please contact Mady Seynhaeve of Elecosy,  a WFTO member based in Kanegem, Belgium. Email:





By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard


We live in an era of trade, Nithin Coca recently wrote in an article on why there is a need for Fair Trade. He finds that today’s consumer society focuses on “profit, not people”. The Western world’s consumer demand for cheap products is fulfilled at the expense of others.

To keep the prices low, a decrease of production costs are continuously forced on producers. Payments to workers in the production stage are so low it is rarely enough to survive. The result is that people must accept abnormally long work hours just to survive. It is only one out of many ruthless work conditions that people face, caused by this demand.  Child labour, forced labour, discrimination and unsafe working environments are part of a reality that workers in developing countries face every day.

As the rich parts of the world consumes more products for cheaper prices, the developing world produces more for cheaper prices. The result is a growing gap between the rich and the poor.

This is a devastating consequence of globalization and the “trade era”. As a reaction to this alarming reality, the Fair Trade Movement faces these consequences and gives consumers alternatives. Instead of trade relations where only one side wins, Fair Trade fulfills demands that do not cause human rights violations and that do not dehumanize people.

A great example of how this approach works has just been showcased in an article by Good News Finland. The article features Finnish Mifuko, a member of WFTO-Europe, which produces handmade baskets in Kenya. The production hires local women who receive a fair payment. For example, there is Lydia who with her job as a Mifuko weaver is able to support herself and educate her children. Or Raphael who due to his polio disease struggled until he studied to become a bag maker. He is able to provide for his family and holds dreams to start up his own business.

That is how Mifuko helps people out of poverty and creates economic development in communities. It is not only about profit, it is first and foremost about people.

As Coca wrote in his article:

Fair Trade needs to become more than a niche – it needs to grow into the norm, a true alternative to a trade systems that traps far too many in poverty. And all of us – the media, companies, and, yes, the 1 percent, all need to play our role”.

This is what WFTO-Europe works for. Our members can together with responsible companies and consumers that choose to be an agent for change by choosing Fair Trade products, make it happen. Through fair trading partnerships and ethical consumer demands, poverty can be eliminated and the Sustainable Development Goal number 1 can be achieved, creating a fair world for everyone.

Find out more about how you can become an Agent for Change here.


Photo Credit: Helene Wickström


This week Good News Finland told the beautiful story of our Finnish member Mifuko.

Mifuko wants everyone to win. The women in Kenya have been able to bring in extra income on the side of unpredictable and weather-dependent farming. For some, Mifuko has turned into their most important job, and daughters of rural families have been able to return to their home villages from the big city slums because of the work provided by Mifuko”.

This is a strong example on how Fair Trade contributes to achieve Sustainable Development Goal number 1 “No Poverty” through Fair Trade Principle number 1 “Opportunities for disadvantaged producers”.


Read the article here. Support Mifuko’s work by purchasing their baskets here.


Photo Credit: Helene Wickström

By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard


Development and Cooporation recently published an article “Sustainability requires fair wages” on how researchers find that fair payments are necessary for sustainable economic development. The article addresses the issue that wages do not match the living costs as a preventive of economic development in developing countries.

The solution is clear: ensuring living wages. But as simple as it is to define this solution, implementing it seems to be highly complex. Adding these extra costs in the production stage will ultimately affect the retail prices. With a consumer demand for cheap products, companies are pressured to minimize production costs to maximize profits at the expense of humanitarian and green development.

In this way, there is a discrepancy between the business sector and the development sector. The two sectors are separated areas with conflicting interests. But it doesn’t have to be as such.

The Fair Trade movement has worked on this problem with this solution for years. It is what the movement calls “trade, not aid”. As it indicates, Fair Trade focuses on achieving sustainable development through trade and hence through the business sector. It aligns the two areas and creates an effective approach to save people and the planet. This gives companies a way of differentiating themselves and creating a competitive advantage. This is a win-win situation where everyone is a winner and nobody has to suffer at the expense of others’ incomes and expenses.

As a part of the “trade, note aid” approach, Fair Trade ensures “Payments of Fair Price” as Fair Trade Principle number 4. This is just one out of 10 Fair Trade Principles that the movement works with to achieve sustainable development.

Being a member of the Fair Trade movement, such as labelling products with the WFTO logo, provides a competitive advantage to companies. When companies become members of WFTO, they go through our guarantee system which 100 % guarantees that they are Fair Trade organisations.

This works because there are world-changing consumers out there who strongly ask for ethical products. They choose Fair Trade certified/guaranteed products even in those cases where this means a slightly higher price (but also a higher quality). In this way, Fair Trade companies and Fair Trade consumers give a little extra of themselves to the rest of the world for a huge impact.

We are all linked. Any decision you make can be affecting others around the world. So help us in our fight for a fair world for everyone by joining or supporting our movement. Every little effort makes a difference.

By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard

Tolly Dolly Posh

Blogger Tolly Dolly Posh in jumpsuit from People Tree.



The topic of ethics in the fashion industry is still a hot topic in the news, and with good reason. A couple of weeks ago, an article explained the challenges of tracking the supply chain in the industry. In the beginning of March, the Telegraph published an article on the pressure in the industry to ensure more ethical productions. Linked to this, big fashion chains decided to boycott Dhaka Apparel Summit in Bangladesh.

Indeed, ethical issues in the fashion industry are to be found more than in other industries. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry after the oil industry. It can take over 2500 liters of water to produce one single t-shirt. With a demand for fast fashion, getting the latest trends for a cheap price, the volume of garments produced is booming with 80 billion garments produced each year around the world as a crucial cause of global warming.

Yet, issues do not merely affect the planet but also the people. Due to the demand of low prices, costs have to be kept as low as possible resulting in low working conditions in the fashion production stage. In fact, they are so low that they violate human rights including children’s and women’s rights. In Bangladesh, workers can work up to 16 hours per day, 6 days a week, and in unsafe working environments.

Fortunately, the future of fashion is brighter. Actors within the industry have recently claimed that “slow is the new fast”, that the future of fashion is sustainability. This is where Fair Trade and WFTO comes in.

Fair Trade fashion ensures that the production fulfills the 10 Fair Trade Principles. “Fair payment”, “No child labor, No forced labor”, and “Respect for the environment” are some of the principles Fair Trade producers must live up to. They are the Fair Trade Movement’s solution to issues such as human rights violations and global warming.

WFTO-Europe works with a Guarantee System which ensures that all members live up to the WFTO Standard and fulfil the 10 Fair Trade Principles. In this way, consumers are 100 % guaranteed that products with the  WFTO brands are produced and traded by Fair Trade Organisation, fully in compliance with the FT principles.

An example of such a brand is People Tree from the UK who produces slow fashion. They have demonstrated that the industry can deliver ethically produced products with a long life-cycle that are stylish and affordable. People Tree’s products are even worn by bloggers, latest by Tolly Dolly Posh, who make slow become the new fast.

Together, these many actors are pushing the Fair Trade movement forward and creating sustainable development. Join the frontrunners in the fashion industry and be a part of this latest trend by choosing Fair Trade fashion.

WFTO-Europe works with a Guarantee System which ensures that all members live up to the WFTO Standard and fulfil the 10 Fair Trade Principles. In this way, consumers are 100 % guaranteed that products with the WFTO brands are produced and traded by Fair Trade Organisation, fully in compliance with the FT principles.

An example of such a brand is People Tree from the UK who produces slow fashion. They have demonstrated that the industry can deliver ethically produced products with a long life-cycle that are stylish and affordable. People Tree’s products are even worn by bloggers, latest by Tolly Dolly Posh, who make slow become the new fast.

Together, these many actors are pushing the Fair Trade movement forward and creating sustainable development. Join the frontrunners in the fashion industry and be a part of this latest trend by choosing Fair Trade fashion.



On May 13 2017, WFTO-Europe will commemorate Fair Trade and the Planet when celebrating World Fair Trade Day 2017. Together with other Agents for Change across the world, consumers, policy makers and advocates, we will emphasize our dedication to Fair Trade as our way to achieve sustainable development.

The 2017 celebration will be the third in the series of the ‘Be An Agent for Change’ campaign. WFTO believes that Fair Trade is an Agent for Change, a solution to trade injustices and imbalances of power in the supply chain. People in the Fair Trade supply chain and the consumers supporting Fair Trade products are Agents for Change. It is our inherent power to make change. We believe that anyone can be an Agent for Change.

Agents for Change badge_ digital sharing_2

Together, we can create a fairer world. Join us and as an Agent for Change! Stay updated on our Facebook and Twitter to see how you can be an Agent for Change and be a part of creating a real difference in the world.


#fairtradeday #agentforchange  



Agents for Change badge_ digital sharing_1

By Maria Tereza Batista

Zero Discrimination Day FT Principle 6

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, the WFTO is celebrating women’s rights and promoting gender equality at workplaces. Gender equality is a high topic on the political agenda of the EU and important steps to end discrimination against women have been taken in the last 25 years. However, women are still subjected to unequal treatment, having to overcome barriers to gender equality in almost every aspect of their lives. In the workplace, the lack of access to leadership positions, occupational gender segregation and unequal payment are still one of the main constraints experienced by women around the world.

The economic empowerment of women is commonly understood as an important factor to economic growth and a prerequisite for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). An increase in female labour force participation, results in a faster economic development as reported by the Unwomen. In the primary sector, women represent almost half of the labour force but own less than 20% of the land. They are also deprived from control of resources used for agriculture, such as seeds, water, technology, innovation and financial services, which makes them severely disadvantaged with regards to their input.

In Europe, in spite of the increase in the participation of women in the labor market, they are still underpaid in comparison to men. The gender pay gap varies greatly among EU-members but a women’s hourly gross income is on average 16.3% below than men’s[M1] . Furthermore, more than 25 per cent of women in the EU report that care and other family and personal responsibilities, versus only three per cent of men. Therefore, women continue to earn lower salaries and pensions, be underrepresented in decision-making roles and they are the ones who perform the majority of unpaid household work.

The Fair trade movement seeks to end injustices by empowering communities and creating tools for women to regain their financial independence and control over their lives. The WFTO-Europe is committed to fight against gender inequalities at the workplace as it fully acknowledges the potential of women and their need for economic empowerment. Firms in Europe, in every sector, can contribute to a more equitable society by promoting policies and ensuring that workers are paid in due proportion, as well as their producers in the South.

Achieving gender equality requires a gender-based approach in designing public policies and a long-term commitment of companies in addressing the issue at workplaces must be integrated alongside with Fair Trade practices that provide capacity building opportunities for women, in the North and the South.



7 March 2017, Culemborg, The Netherlands – The fight for gender equality at workplaces is far from over. The recent reports by UN Women show that women in economic activities continue to suffer various forms of discrimination and unequal treatment. They also highlight that their labour force participation has stagnated[1]. This reality has mobilised the Fair Trade movement to a renewed call to action to fight, harder this time, for the rights of women, especially those engaged in economic activities.

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March, we want to reiterate Fair Trade’s commitment to respect and fulfil women’s rights and advance their aspirations through gender equity, fair payment, non-discrimination, good working conditions and capacity building as declared in the 10 Principles of Fair Trade.

The WFTO network, including its regional office WFTO Europe, together with Oxfam Magasins du Monde embark on a global awareness raising campaign by showcasing success stories of Fair Trade contributing to gender equality at workplaces. When women succeed, communities are safer, more secure, and more prosperous. Over the last years, in the Fair Trade movement, we have seen women inspiring communities and Fair Trade organisations to stand up for women’s empowerment. As a network of almost 400 organisations across the world, today we ask Fair Trade actors to hold our poster and to share their experience via social media. Therefore, do watch, read and spread the message around to raise awareness about women’s economic challenges and support our constant commitment towards gender equality at workplace.

These stories are key examples of how Fair Trade practices contribute to a world where women have the same chances as men at the workplace and in their daily life. Hence, Fair Trade is shown as a keystone in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 5 aims to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. That means, among others, the need to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.

WFTO and all its members are committed to advance this important agenda. We are taking steps to empower women, to fight for their rights and their equal access to economic resources, to address all forms of violence against women and to promote women as key agents for change and drivers of sustainable development.

Note to Editors:
Every year, the World Fair Trade Organization and its members observe the International Women’s Day to raise awareness on gender equality, women empowerment and women’s role in achieving sustainable development. This year, for the first time, WFTO and OXFAM Magasins du Monde (Belgium) collaborate to raise awareness on the issue of gender equality at work and the role of Fair Trade in fostering decent work and equality at workplaces.

To learn more of the campaign, for high resolution images, interviews and other queries, please contact Michael Sarcauga through email or give us a call +31.345536487.


Download Press Release here.



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[1] UN Women: Facts and Figures and UN Women: Progress of the World’s Women (2015-2016)


International Women’s Day Campaign 2017: What are your Fair Chances at work?



Today women are still suffering from unequal treatment and discrimination everywhere in the world. Now it is the time to stop it!Take a step forward and support the Fair Trade movement in its constant fight for gender equity, women’s economic empowerment and good working conditions as stated in the 10 Fair Trade principles.

– Francesca Giubilo, WFTO-Europe Coordinator


On the 8th of March we commemorate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women around the globe. We have witnessed remarkable accomplishments in the last years with regards to gender equality and women empowerment but despite all the progress made in the fight for women’s rights, gender inequality is still an issue that persists in different domains, especially in the workplaces.


Our standards:
The World Fair Trade Organization-Europe acknowledges the importance of the role women play in the society and especially in the working life having as one of its core principles, principle number 6; ‘’No discrimination, gender equity and freedom of association.’’ The WFTO and its members are fully committed to promoting gender equality and to recognize the potential of women and the need for their economic empowerment.  Principle number 6 represents our efforts to ensure equal treatment and opportunities for everyone, regardless of gender.


How our standards promote gender equality at the workplace:

  • We ensure that our member organizations do not discriminate based on gender during the recruitment process.
  • The organizations must have a clear policy to promote gender equality that ensures that women as well as men have the ability to gain access to the resources that they need to be productive and also the ability to influence the wider policy, regulatory, and institutional environment that shapes their livelihoods and lives.
  • Workers must not be discriminated based on their civil status
  • Members of the WFTO must recognize full employment rights and is committed to ensuring that women receive their full statutory employment benefits.
  • The organization must take into account the special health and safety needs of pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers.


Read more:
Press Release: International Women’s Day 2017
IWD2017: Ensuring Gender Equality at Workplaces through Fair Trade